If you place a penny head-first into the tread of your tires and still see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s probably time for new tires. As you check around for estimates, you might end up thoroughly confused by all of the different features and price points. Should you splurge for the top-of-the-line versions? Or go with those you can get for a steal of a deal?
To help you balance the tightrope between quality and price, we asked a panel of professionals. Here’s what they had to say.
Shop tires with quality
You must shop tires with quality and match to the vehicle. A big mistake is to buy on price alone. You get what you pay for.
When you think about tires, it’s four pieces of rubber that separate your car from the road. Having the improper tire size, load rating and quality could cause premature wear, lack of top handling, braking problems, and even [poor] fuel economy.
Buying a low-cost tire means you are giving up the best of handling, braking, and your safety as well as the life of the tire. Buyer beware. Don’t shortchange yourself.
Quality is cheaper
I’ve learned over the years that buying quality is almost always the cheapest way to go. For tires, I have always bought BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires even though they are usually the most expensive initially.
For 33″ tires, each tire weighs about 25 lbs less than equal-sized tires of lesser brands. And that means more pep to the car and better gas mileage. In the history of the Baja 100 race, there are only a handful of vehicles that have come in first that were not using BF Goodrich because the sidewalls rarely blow out. The road noise is hardly noticeable, and they last 70,000 miles every time. There is so much that goes into the quality of a tire, one would be either young, broke or a fool to not shop quality first.
Quality tires last longer
I shop for tires on quality because it makes a big difference to both your on-road safety and in-car comfort and is actually cheaper long term. Better quality tires usually last longer and provide better fuel efficiency, thus saving you money. They also offer better traction, better handling, quieter driving, and a smoother ride. The extra up-front cost typically pays dividends over the lifetime of the tires.
Best product at a fair price
I always try to shop by buying the best product at a fair price. For instance, recently we needed two new tires for our 2005 Jaguar. At the dealership, we learned that the ‘recommended brand’ and the appropriate size were $625 apiece.
As we were also having other repair work done, I asked our technician if there was a second ‘best’ and tires that wouldn’t look ‘ghetto-fabulous’ on our beautiful car which we have taken great care [of]. After he quit laughing, he said the next ‘best’ cost $375.00 apiece. This is what we purchased.
Quality tires are long-term investments
This decision is usually made by my mechanic, regardless of what type of vehicle I am shopping for tires for. I own a Hyundai Unicorn motorbike and a Hyundai i20 Magna hatchback and both of them originally came with Continental tires, but when the time came for me to replace them, I went with my mechanic’s suggestion.
Even then I tend to go by quality because I feel tires are long-term investments. However, I feel this decision is better based on how much you use your vehicle. I ride/drive around the city daily and occasionally take long trips outside of the city. So, the wear quotient is not high. But I still prefer to go by quality because I believe in ‘you get what you pay for’.
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